lundi 8 mai 2017

Applications are invited for three fully-funded doctoral research studentships in a new Research Network funded by the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities.


Imagining and Representing Species Extinction

About WRoCAH Networks

WRoCAH White Rose Networks each comprise three PhD studentships. Students will work on one aspect of an over-arching research theme, and will benefit from being part of an integrated community working upon a larger initiative. Each WRoCAH White Rose Networks Studentship has two supervisors – one at the student’s home institution and a co-supervisor at one of the other White Rose institutions.
Each university acts as lead on one studentship, and co-supervisor on another so each Network comprises six academics and three PhD researchers with parity of involvement across the three institutions.
Successful students will be expected to participate fully in the Network’s activities, working with other PhD researchers exploring the common theme from three different perspectives.  Students will also be part of the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities and have access to the additional funding opportunities membership offers.  For more details of these please see

About this Network

Imagining and representing species extinction – both currently witnessed and projected into the future, including human extinction – has become a powerful social and cultural discourse, the study of which is the domain of no single discipline. This network brings together researchers in environmental conservation, English literature, interactive media, management, philosophy and religious studies in order to contribute critically to the cross-disciplinary study of extinction in all its different biological forms and socio-cultural functions today. Whilst historically extinction has evoked the disappearance of iconic species of animals and plants, it is just as likely to be discussed today in the context of macro-scale considerations of global ecological crisis and the interdependence of human and nonhuman life in an era of anthropogenic climate change. From reporting on climate tipping points (which include rapid biodiversity loss), suggestions that we are living in the 'Anthropocene epoch' and an associated 'sixth mass extinction event', to a recurrent 'eco-apocalypse' and ‘animal apocalypse’ theme in cinematic and literary narratives, the studies of human and non-human life have become radically intertwined. Greater input is thus urgently needed from arts and humanities to work alongside, as well as to critically engage with, the scientific discoveries and ethical imperatives of contemporary wildlife conservation studies.

Alongside a concern with how and why we value and protect biodiversity, individual species and ecosystems, the network addresses questions that have been hampered by disciplinary boundaries. For example: in what sense is extinction a harm, and to what or whom? Why do people lament the loss of some species and not others? How do they communicate the significance of that loss at an individual and / or collective level? How do people connect the loss of nonhuman species with fears of human extinction?

The network will meet three times per year, alternating between institutions. Two of these will be opportunities to feedback on progress internal to the group, whilst a third will involve a larger activity seeking input from outside the network. In years 2 and 3 students will co-organise and contribute to a postgraduate symposium at which they will present papers and chair panels. Further to these events, there will be extensive opportunities throughout the 3 years to participate in interdisciplinary research events, networks, and workshops across the three institutions.

Studentships available

Application Closing Date: 5pm BST on Wednesday 17 May 2017

In the interests of fairness, late applications will not be accepted.

Interviews will take place during the first week of June.

Studentship Topic
Principal Supervisor
Last Whales: Extinction and the Contemporary Cetacean Imaginary
Graham Huggan
School of English
University of Leeds
Callum Roberts
Environment Department
University of York
Theories of loss in cultural representations of extinction
Robert McKay
School of English
University of Sheffield
Stefan Skrimshire
School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science,
University of Leeds
A World Without Bees? The role of our social and cultural imagination in responding to bee extinction.
Deborah Maxwell
Department of Theatre, Film and Television,
University of York
Jill Atkins
School of Management
University of Sheffield

Studentship 1: University of Leeds
Last Whales: Extinction and the Contemporary Cetacean Imaginary

Whales and other cetaceans have been among the most consistently mythologised of living creatures, while some species currently count among the most endangered on Earth. This PhD studentship will chart contemporary representations of a ‘cetacean imaginary’, combining literary (possibly also film and television) studies with research in marine conservation biology.

Studentship 2: University of Sheffield
Theories of loss in cultural representations of extinction

This studentship will explore contemporary literary and other cultural portrayals of species extinction (including the extinction of the human animal). It will interpret them in the context of critical-theoretical approaches to loss—for example beliefs about death and the afterlife; life, vitalism and biopolitics; or memory, mourning and melancholia—to better understand how we value human and nonhuman existence in contemporary cultures.

Studentship 3: University of York
A World Without Bees? the role of our social and cultural imagination in responding to bee extinction.

This studentship will look at the role of innovative design techniques and methods, as well as visualisation and increasing stakeholder engagement in the prevention of pollinator extinction. This may involve shaping and identifying collective and conflicting narratives by which individuals, communities and corporations project, plan for, or attempt to avoid, a world without bees. We encourage applications from a wide range of disciplines including interaction design and speculative design, social and environmental accounting, and related fields.

For more information on any of these studentships, please contact:
Dr Stefan Skrimshire:

Applicant Requirements

Applicants must:
-        Have at least a UK Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent. A Masters degree is desirable or demonstration of equivalent experience.

-        Demonstrate a desire to participate fully in the network and its activities.

-        Demonstrate a desire to engage with and benefit from the full WRoCAH cohort of students from across the three White Rose Universities (c. 80 students) at the same stage in their research, in a shared training and development programme.

Terms and Conditions

Each WRoCAH White Rose Networks Studentship is tenable for three years and students are expected to start in October 2017. As the coherence of the network is important, deferrals will not be permitted.

The award will provide fees at the Home/EU rate and a stipend paid at standard Research Council rates
(£14,553) for the first year of study. The award is renewable for a second and third year of study subject to satisfactory academic progress according to each institution’s Policy on Research Degrees.

Successful students will also be eligible to apply to additional WRoCAH funding schemes for research support, training, student-led activities and knowledge exchange projects.  All students will be required to spend one month with an external Partner organisation on a specific project to develop their employability skills.
If international students are appointed to the project then the following individual University regulations will apply:
-        Leeds: If an international candidate is offered a WRoCAH White Rose Networks Studentship, the School would have to pay the difference between the international fee rate and the standard UK/EU fee rate.
-        Sheffield: If an international candidate is offered a WRoCAH White Rose Networks Studentship, the candidate/department will be required to pay the difference between the international fee rate and the UK/EU fee rate.
-        York: If an international candidate is offered a WRoCAH White Rose Networks Studentship, the department will be required to pay the difference between the international fee rate and the UK/EU fee rate.
Specific enquiries regarding eligibility should be directed to the relevant Scholarships Offices (NOT the WRoCAH office):
+44 113 343 4077  |
+44 114 222 1417  |
+44 1904 323374  |

How to apply

Application is in two parts. An application cannot be considered unless BOTH PARTS are complete. 


You must apply for a place of study at the institution where the studentship you are applying for is to be registered. If you have not done this yet, you can do this at the following links:

You may wait up to 48 hours at busy times for applications to be processed and confirmation of your 9-digit student number so make sure you apply for a place of study in plenty of time so you do not miss the studentship application deadline.


Studentship Application Form:

If you have any queries about completing the online application form, please contact the WRoCAH Office on